History

On This Day: ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier makes his professional debut when he fells Woody Goss in the opening round

Joe Frazier
The start of Joe Frazier’s legendary professional career

JOE FRAZIER w rsf 1 WOODY GOSS
August 16, 1965; Convention Hall, Philadelphia
MOST boxing fans know the name Tunney Hunsaker, the unremarkable fighter who greeted Cassius Clay into the professional ranks but Woody Goss – Joe Frazier’s first unvested rival – isn’t nearly as famous. Frazier was motoring, he’d won three consecutive Golden Gloves in Philly, added the Olympic Gold in 1964, and promised his sponsors that he’d be world heavyweight champion by 1967. Goss, whose final record reads 6-5 (3), never stood a chance. It was reported at the time he was a substitute for a substitute. Bounced off the canvas in the opening round, the contest was stopped when Goss failed to obey the referee’s instructions to stop holding.

DID YOU KNOW? The official who threw out Goss was the legendary Zach Clayton, best known for counting to 10 as George Foreman tried to rise against Ali in 1974. Clayton would referee Frazier on another three occasions.

WATCH OUT FOR: Boxing News couldn’t find any footage of Frazier-Goss. But check out When The Smoke Clears, an excellent 2011 film on “Smokin” Joe.

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